Crime is everywhere, even in a quiet community like Trenton. Recognizing this unfortunate truth is your first step toward crime prevention. Integrating this awareness into your day to day lifestyle is a practical matter. The security recommendations and tips in this section will provide a starting point for doing just that. These recommendations may not fit the exact situation you are trying to deal with, but be creative, and above all use good common sense.
Remember, there are no sure preventatives of crime. Each situation, each crime, each criminal can be different. Your most important defense is to stay aware and be alert!
Being Safe Around Town
- Whenever you are on the street, in an office building, or shopping, stay alert, and tuned in to your surroundings.
- Send the message that you're calm, confident, and know where you are going.
- Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you uneasy, get away from that situation as quickly as possible any way you can.
- Know the neighborhoods where you live and work. Be familiar with the roadways and locations of police stations, fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, and businesses, and stores that are open late.
On Foot - Day or Night
- Stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through wooded areas, parking lots, or alleys.
- Don't flash large amounts of cash or other tempting targets like expensive jewelry or clothing.
- Carry a purse or bag close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket, not a back pocket.
- Don't wear shoes or clothing that restricts your movements.
- Have your car or house key in hand before you reach the door.
- If you think someone is following you switch directions or cross the street. Walk to an open store, restaurant, or anyplace else with groups of people. If you are afraid, call for help.
- If you must work late, don't go to your car alone. Go with colleagues as a group or if you are afraid call 911 and have an officer escort you to your car. This is a courtesy we are more than happy to extend.
Safety While Driving
- Keep your car in good running condition. Check the gas gauge before you leave to make sure you have enough fuel to get where you are going and back.
- Always roll up the windows and lock the car doors when you park the car, even if you are coming right back. Always check your car inside and out before you get back in to drive away.
- Avoid parking in isolated areas. Be especially alert in parking lots, or if you're in another community's parking garages.
- If you think someone is following you, don't go home. Drive to the nearest police or fire station. If you can't find either of these, a gas station or other open business is your next best choice. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
- While driving, always keep all doors locked.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
Using the ATM
Try to use the automated teller machines in the daytime. Have your card in hand and don't approach the machine if you are uneasy about people nearby. Always watch for suspicious persons or activity around the ATM. If you notice anything strange, leave and find another machine or come back another time. If you feel uneasy during your transaction, cancel it and leave.
If you do use the ATM after dark, utilize the following tips to do so:
- Don't go alone.
- Park close to the ATM and lock your car.
- If the lights around the ATM machine aren't working, don't use it. Report this to your bank later.
- Stand close to the machine so that no one else can see your access codes.
- Take all of your transaction receipts with you. Don't throw them away at the ATM.
- If you get cash, put it away. Don't count your cash while standing at the ATM.
- Never accept help from strangers at the ATM. Ask the bank for help later.
- Ask your bank which ATMs have working video cameras. These provide valuable evidence in the event of someone tampering with your account or any other crimes which might happen in the vicinity. If there are no cameras at your banks ATMs ask why and insist they be installed.
- If you use a drive-up ATM, keep your vehicle doors locked and other windows up.
- Memorize your access code. Don't write it down or carry it with you.
- Don't use an access code that's the same as other words or numbers in your wallet.
- Never tell your access code to anyone.
- Never lend your ATM card to anyone. Treat it like cash or a credit card.
- If you lose your ATM card, notify your bank or credit union immediately.